I had to deprogram my brain from approaching work this way
— Michael Girdley
As a Gen X, it took me a while to deprogram myself from thinking I owed companies my life.
At some point I realized the workaholic mentality of previous generations was from a time when companies were more loyal to their employees, and when one parent was often home and not working. Those days are gone.
Seeing jobs I’d thrown my life into disappear through restructures and outsourcing caused a gradual shift in my mindset over the years. The slowing down of life during Covid probably helped too, as I spent less time rushing around with my family and more time just being with them.
At some point over the years, I started looking for red flags during the hiring process. For example, I’ve learned that the places that ask you for a bunch of materials at the last minute before an interview are probably best to avoid, as are the ones that want you to put together presentations and sample projects so detailed they should pay you for them.
Finding the right cultural fit makes all the difference
Now, working at a place with an amazing work-life balance has shown me what’s possible. I’m truly in a place where you can put family first and not have to worry about it. The pace of work is reasonable and I’m not being asked to take on the amount of work that should belong to a larger team.
Sidenote: If you keep taking on more work to impress people, your company might assume they don’t need to hire more staff. One of the fast tracks to burnout is the one where you just keep saying yes to more work, instead of saying you’ll need additional budget or people to get it done.
At this point in my life, I want healthy work cultures, and I’m loyal to myself and my family first. I’ve come to realize that companies don’t own us, would drop us in a heartbeat if it helped their business…